My friend Jeanne and I went to Sandpoint, Idaho to visit with her new grandson. Sandpoint sits on Lake Pend Oreille (“Lake Ponderay”) in the northern panhandle of Idaho, about 50 miles south of the border of Canada. Before this trip, I had only traveled through a tiny corner of Idaho when I was 14. The weather was perfect.
So where is either painting I started there? Well, tsk! I wiped one completely before I left the little beach because my composition was totally.not.working. The other got barely past the drawing stage because the light wasn’t cooperating. I could only catch the beautiful lilacs in the sun with a camera!
With nothing to show for the effort, I packed up and carried my paint gear back home.
On the other hand, I now know that my minimum paint setup will pass TSA inspection in my carry-on. (That is, after they swab both bags for explosives on the first leg through LAX.) I also took the lightweight easel in its carry bag, and no one questioned me about my “third carry-on item.”
Went to Sea World with Hubs on free tickets he got from school. Hadn’t been there in at least 30 years. He says we went there with the kids, but I don’t remember that; I only remember going as a kid myself. Once, I think. I think that every killer whale they’ve ever had there has been called Shamu.
We planned to stop on the way home so I could paint. On top of looking for somewhere interesting, I told Hubs I rather need to keep the number of people milling around to a minimum, and this complicated the search a bit. A Hwy 101 rest stop had a quiet spot with vivid purple flowers, but it wasn’t too interesting otherwise. We ended up finding a pay parking lot ($1.50/hr) and a tiny little memorial park in San Clemente with a view: Park Semper Fi. When I say tiny, I mean less than the size of my house in area, maybe 1000 square feet. Anyway, there was one guy sitting in it but I managed to get out of his sight–around a bush, next to a down stairway, behind a bench. Steve went for a long walk and I set to work.
In an hour and half, only three or four people came through, going up or down the stairs. And then there was the mom with two older kids who stood no more than eight feet behind me for 15 minutes, shooting the breeze. Very distracting. I don’t know if I was the reason they hung out or not, but eventually I turned to see who these people crowding me were. I said nothing, but I’m sure my expression was not pleasant. After another five minutes they finally took the stairs down and out of my space. (Please, people, until further notice, don’t stand right behind me, yakking. Grr! A 20-foot perimeter would be good. Bring your measuring devices.)
Oh, yeah, about the painting. There were probably 100 palm trees, but I put in just enough to get the idea. Came home and put a little more light on the pier and trees. I didn’t try to save the foreground.
I dragged my hubby out to a small town an hour away to see a plein air art show at the Santa Paula Art Museum. The show was mostly studio versions of plein air studies–too bad I couldn’t have seen more of the studies themselves :).
I took all my painting gear, and we stopped at a place called Toland Park, off highway 126 between Santa Paula and Fillmore. The park road takes you up the side of a foothill, past many forlorn and empty parking spaces and picnic tables. It seemed rather bare, and if there used to be much green in the place, I think it burned a couple of years ago. We stopped at the top of the road where it was closed off, and I set up.
What interested me most about this scene were the scars in the mountains, the tiny little barn and windmill (which I enlarged), and the skinny little tree. I left out as much as I put in, and I swat a lot of bugs. We took Steve a lawnchair and, plied with books, comics, Candy Crush, and coffee, he says he was perfectly happy. It sounds like I’ll have many painting occasions to come. Can’t wait for our next road trip.
My unexpected moment came the next day. I was driving to my volunteer job when I heard a Bzzzzzp go by my left ear and felt something land on the back of my neck. I immediately brushed it off and was stung by a HUGE bumblebee we had imported from ye olde Toland Park. Thankfully I was stopped at a light at the time and I was able to get the window down and shoo him out before he came back for more.